QUINCY — Amy Looten informed the gathering of approximately 100 volunteers and community leaders about what she won’t miss at the 70-year-old Quincy Hospitality House before the first spades of dirt were turned during Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Teresa Adams House in Quincy.
“The charm of this little house is undeniable, but we can no longer camouflage the shortcomings of this house,” said Looten, a volunteer at the house, a board member and the chairperson of the capital campaign fundraising committee.
“We are not going to miss explaining to two-thirds of our guests how there’s a little ladder rolled up in their closet that they need to throw out the window in case of a fire so they can get out of that second floor. We are not going to miss sending the next open heart surgery patient up 16 very steep stairs to their bedroom. We’re not going to miss turning away families because there are only two twin beds in each room, and we’re not going to miss knowing that some of our guests are too cold, and some of our guests are too warm on the very same day.”
The Teresa Adams House will replace the two-story structure at 1129 Oak. Known in Quincy for her hospitality and warm and welcoming personality, Adams lost a 12-year battle with cancer in 2019. A release from Blessing Hospital noted she understood the importance of home and comfort in receiving healthcare.
Organizers have raised nearly $2 million toward $2.3 million goal
Hospital officials expect construction to take six months. The new house will provide discounted daytime and overnight accommodations to guests seeking healthcare from any area provider. People in town for a funeral or visiting someone in a nursing home or at Chaddock School also are welcome.
Looten said $1.957 million has been raised toward the $2.3 million goal. Organizers originally set the goal at $2 million last May.
Building committee chairperson Brad Billings also served as president and chief executive officer of Blessing Corporate Services for 14 years before retiring in October 2014. He told Monday’s crowd the idea of constructing a new home hatched two years ago, then delayed by the pandemic.
“For a year, we had to kind of twiddle our thumbs and wait for a better day,” Billings said. “About a year ago, we said things are looking a little better. We need to start with this project, so we started working with architects.
“A year ago, we did one of these kinds of estimates on what it would cost. The project cost was estimated to be about $200 a square foot. That was the going rate for residential properties at that time. Well, you all know what has happened in the last year with construction materials. When we went out in the marketplace to look for potential contractors at the end of November and first part of December, the low bid for this project came in at $325 a square foot. That created about a $600,000 increase in our estimated costs from just a year ago.
“I never thought I would say this three months ago, but I look back now and say, ‘Boy, am I glad we signed that contract three months ago.’”
Maas Construction to be general contractor
The site of the Teresa Adams House is at 11th and College, north of the SIU Center for Family Medicine. It will be ADA compliant and offer eight bedrooms with private baths, gathering and conference spaces, laundry facilities and a snack area.
Maas Construction is the general contractor. Sub-contractors Royalty Electric, Sparrow Plumbing, Keck Heating and Air, Vonderhaar Masonry, ME Mechanical and Architechnics will assist.
The original Hospitality House has welcomed more than 14,000 guests since opening in 1998.
Albert: ‘It’s beyond awesome, actually. I know how much this is needed’
Becky Albert, the only full-time employee at the home, can’t wait to make the move.
“I could start crying right now,” she said. “It means the world. I’ve been here since the beginning. It’s all about trying to see how better we can serve those guests who need us and those we can’t serve, because they exist too. We think it’ll be a smooth transition. We’ve got volunteers to work. They’re already saying, ‘I’ll help organize this and that for you. We want to make sure that when you’re ready to open the doors, we’re ready for them.
“This is just awesome. It’s beyond awesome, actually. I know how much this is needed.”
“Today, we celebrate taking a giant step closer to realizing a dream,” said Jayne Pieper, president of the Quincy Hospitality House. “What is not included (in the fundraising campaign figures) is the heart and soul of this venture — the volunteers and staff who staff this facility 24/7, including holidays. They embody the exceptional hospitality and warm and welcome personality Teresa Adams was known for.”
Those interested in volunteering can go online to blessinghealth.org/volunteer or call 217-430-0958.
The capital campaign continues to accept donations to help build the Teresa Adams House and buy furnishings and appliances. The Blessing Foundation serves as the project’s financial trustee. Donors can mail gifts to the Blessing Foundation, 4939 Oak, P.O. Box 7005, Quincy, Ill., 62305, or send them online at https://www.blessinghealth.org/giving. For more information, contact the Foundation at (217) 223-8400, ext. 4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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